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Acquisitions 101: Tools & Processes. Roberta Schenewerk – Acquisitions Manager Fort Worth Public Library. Changes Over the Last 10 Years. Gone from printed to electronic purchase orders It is much easier to tell immediately if a vendor can supply item

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Acquisitions 101: Tools & Processes

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acquisitions 101 tools processes

Acquisitions 101: Tools & Processes

Roberta Schenewerk – Acquisitions Manager

Fort Worth Public Library

changes over the last 10 years
Changes Over the Last 10 Years
  • Gone from printed to electronic purchase orders
  • It is much easier to tell immediately if a vendor can supply item
  • Philosophical change – from the books get here whenever to getting the books to patrons by street date
  • Internet orders are somewhat more complicated in that every vendor’s database is different
  • Purchase orders are released continuously instead of only being sent once a week
changes over the last 10 years continued
Changes Over the Last 10 Years (continued)
  • Less data entry – now we bring in vendor bib records
  • Contracts have moved from low bid to “best value”
  • Purchasing more circulating materials and fewer reference materials
  • Spanish materials are a lot easier to identify and obtain
  • While genealogy materials are still among the hardest to identify and obtain, it is much easier than it was with more of them using the Internet
fwpl background
FWPL Background
  • Serves a population of about 662,000
  • 15 libraries including a main/downtown branch, 10 neighborhood branches, 2 regional libraries, & 2 satellite branches
  • One branch will be relocating to a new facility in the next year
  • Construction will start on a new branch in about a year
  • Fort Worth is also the anchor member of a 7 library consortium called MetrOPAC
fwpl background continued
FWPL Background (continued)
  • Use the SirsiDynix Horizon acquisitions module
  • FY07 materials budget is a little over $2.4 million
  • The rough breakdown is
    • 50% books
    • 35% AV
    • 10% online resources
    • 5% magazines
collection management division
Collection Management Division

Consists of …..

  • Collection Management Administrator
  • Materials Selection ( 3 selectors)
  • Acquisitions (7 staff)
  • Cataloging (3 staff)
  • Processing (6 staff)
  • Digital Resources Librarian
fwpl acquisitions organization
FWPL Acquisitions Organization
  • Acquisitions Manager/Librarian Supervisor
  • Assistant Manager/Library Assistant
  • Senior Account Clerk
  • Ordering Clerk
  • Receiving Clerk
  • Mail/Periodical Clerk
  • Page
materials budget who gets how much
Materials Budget: Who Gets How Much
  • Allocate “Off the Top” funds
    • Standing orders
    • Periodicals
    • Online Databases
    • Encyclopedias
    • Large Print
    • Teen
    • Graphic Novels
    • E-books
    • Professional Collection
materials budget who gets how much10
Materials Budget: Who Gets How Much
  • Allocate what’s left among the units based on:
    • Circulation Performance Indicators
      • FY07 = goal is to have a 2% across-the-board increase over FY06 circulation (3.8 million circs)
      • How much do we need to spend in each area to increase circ by 2%?
    • Shelf capacity and unit size
    • Special collection development projects and service priorities
    • Percentage each category had of the total unit circulation


Fort Worth Public Library

fwpl collection management priorities
FWPL Collection Management Priorities
  • The Library’s priorities are determined by
    • The annual Library Business Plan
    • The Long Range Services Plan which makes “current topics and titles” & “lifelong learning” driving forces in collection development
  • Collection Management priorities are also based on
    • Demand and anticipated usage
    • Age and accuracy
    • Aesthetics
    • Collection management from a system-wide perspective
  • Speed and Efficiency
    • Having materials available quickly
    • Spending time and money wisely
cataloging processing priorities
Cataloging & Processing Priorities
  • Customer waiting at Central Library
  • Bestsellers, rushes, & reserves
  • Time-sensitive continuations
  • Newly-placed holds (run reports to identify items placed on hold since received)
  • Everything else (including gifts) done on a first in, first out basis
the acquisitions process
The Acquisitions Process
  • Ordering
  • Receiving
  • Paying

And when bad things happen to good orders…

  • Claiming
  • Reordering
  • Cancelling (30 – 60 days after order/pub date)
  • Returning damaged stuff (time limits, use limits)
  • Returning stuff not ordered
where do i send an order
Where Do I Send an Order?
  • Is there enough money to cover the order?
    • In the fund and/or in the contract
  • How quickly do we need it?
    • Is our rush account fast enough or do we need to go to the bookstore
  • Which vendors can provide it?
    • Can one of our primary vendors provide it?
    • Can a secondary vendor provide it?
    • If not, should we go elsewhere?
      • Stock Availability?
      • Urgency/turnaround time (how close to year-end are we?)
      • Sole-source?
      • New or first-time vendor?
      • Can we charge it?
      • Discounts?
      • Can they provide the quantity we need?
from order to shelf
In a perfect world….

1. Order lists are compiled from various vendor databases and imported into Horizon to create purchase orders. (Materials Selectors)

2. Funds are encumbered in Horizon as the orders are approved. (Materials Selectors or Ordering Clerk)

3. Orders are sent to vendors electronically, or via mail, phone, or fax. (Materials Selectors or Ordering Clerk)

4. Vendors send order confirmations and or cancellation notices either electronically or via mail. (Ordering Clerk)

From Order to Shelf
from order to shelf continued
From Order to Shelf (continued)

5. Materials are shipped.

- In stock unprocessed materials arrive in 3 to 10


- “Shelf ready” materials arrive in 3 to 4 weeks.

  • Materials are received centrally and invoiced in Horizon.

- “Self ready” materials ship out to branches in less than

a week.

- Unprocessed materials will be sent to Cataloging and/or

Processing before being distributed to the branches.

(Receiving Clerk)

7. Invoices are input in City’s accounting system and sent to the City’s Accounts Payable Department for payment. (Account Clerk)

why use l c cataloging
Why Use L.C. Cataloging?
  • Provides consistent access for users
  • Horizon database and indexes based on LC standards
  • Helps us create better statistical reports
  • Less garbage than if everyone did his own thing
  • Standards are also used by other libraries
  • Libraries can more easily use and share MARC records
  • Reduces cataloging costs
  • Improves tech services turn-around-time
  • Promotes interlibrary lending
where does fort worth s cataloging come from
Where Does Fort Worth’s Cataloging Come From?
  • Abbreviated MARC on-order records are brought in from vendor databases or created in-house
  • In-house cataloging (OCLC and Z39.50) is done for
    • Hot new DVD releases
    • Bestselling books
    • Genealogy
    • Paperbacks and graphic novels
    • Standing orders/serials records
  • Outsourced cataloging (Brodart, OCLC, and BWI)
    • Adult books
    • Juvenile books
    • Vietnamese books
    • Audio books and music CDs (in the process of setting this up)
  • Authority records purchased from LSSI
  • Use and update MetrOPAC (consortium libraries) records
economies of scale
Economies of Scale
  • It costs as much to catalog one copy as it does 50 copies.
  • If it’s a good title, why are we getting just one copy?
fwpl standing orders
FWPL Standing Orders

Standing order programs save you work

  • Fort Worth’s standing orders include
    • Mass-market paperbacks
    • Graphic novels
    • Audio books
    • Award winners & nominees - Caldecott, Newbery, Lone Star, Bluebonnet, and others
    • Vietnamese language sets
    • Fotonovelas
    • Continuations
how fast do patrons get it
How Fast Do Patrons Get It?
  • Approximately 32% of our materials arrive already cataloged and processed. Everything else is done in-house.
  • About one-third of the titles that come in have holds on them so they receive a rush/priority status.
  • Turn-around-time studies show
  • 0.8 day average for bestselling books (uncataloged & unprocessed)
  • 3.3 day average for blockbuster DVDs (delay accounted for by the fact that we often get these DVDs 1 to 5 days prior to street release date) (uncataloged & unprocessed)
  • 4.5 day average for shelf-ready books (already cataloged & processed)
  • 19.6 day average for non-rush AV materials (uncat & unproc)
  • 6.3 to 19.8 day range for uncataloged, unprocessed, non-rush books


Fort Worth Public Library

fwpl s primary contract vendors
FWPL’s Primary Contract Vendors
    • adult and children’s (English and Spanish) books with cataloging and processing services (meaning books arrive to us “shelf-ready).”
    • Mass market paperbacks including standing order paperbacks
    • Backlist DVDs (unprocessed)
    • Bestsellers (books) (unprocessed)
    • Music CDs (unprocessed)
    • Audio books on CDs (cataloged & processed)
    • Book & CD read-alongs (cataloged & processed)
    • Magazines
    • Continuation services (unprocessed)
    • Feature film releases (unprocessed)
secondary sole source vendors
Secondary Vendors


Midwest Tape

Barnes & Noble

Best Buy


Baker & Taylor


Sole Source Vendors

BBC Audio

Ebsco Online

Learning Express


Recorded Books

World Book

Standard & Poors



Secondary & Sole Source Vendors
basic ground rules
Basic Ground Rules
  • Identify yourself completely
  • Be prepared with complete information
  • Know the company lingo
  • Assume good faith and human error over treachery
  • Return messages promptly
  • Be assertive yet reasonable
  • Avoid making unreasonable demands
  • Be civil, not hostile
  • Be consistent
  • Keep your appointments
switching vendors

Occasional service problems

Problems that aren’t the vendor’s fault

Problems that are your own fault

“Grass is Greener”syndrome


Criminal or unethical behavior

Patterns of bad service that don’t get better

Vendor can’t or won’t fix a problem

Policy changes that make the vendor a bad fit for your library

Chronic fiscal problems

Switching Vendors
rfps contracts


Fort Worth Public Library

contracts for materials
Contracts for Materials
  • The State of Texas and City of Fort Worth Purchasing rules require that anything we spend more than $25,000 on must go out for competitive bid and/or be approved by the Mayor & City Council
  • Contracts allow us to purchase materials at a pre-determined discount for products and services during the term of the contract
  • Contracts give detailed instructions on cataloging and processing services
  • Contracts can guarantee free shipping
  • Well written contracts assure that we get added value through database services, collection development services, electronic ordering, and so forth
contracts for materials continued
Contracts for Materials (continued)
  • Contracts guarantee better customer service by allowing us to establish a good working relationship with our vendors by giving us a primary contact with the vendor
  • We have more clout with a vendor knowing poor customer service could result in the loss of a large contract
  • RFPs (Request for Proposals) can can be written in such a way that we are not automatically required to go with the lowest bidder
  • City Purchasing helps keeps us legal by reviewing specifications, announcing bid openings, offering input on awarding the contract, and getting Mayor & Council’s blessing
  • Larger libraries may choose to go through the bid process themselves, but for many small public libraries this role is fulfilled by the regional library systems
bids vs rfps
Bids vs. RFPs
  • Use simple bid specifications when you want vendors to supply products only
  • Use RFPs (Request for Proposals) when your final contract will include products with additional services such as cataloging and processing
rfps the evaluation matrix
RFPs & the Evaluation Matrix
  • Sample matrix for DVD RFP with cataloging & processing services
contract monitoring problems
Contract Monitoring & Problems
  • Contract monitoring is as important as time spent writing the contract
  • Determine if problems are being caused by ambiguities or unrealistic demands in the contract specifications
  • Document - record problems in writing
  • Make an effort to work together to resolve the issues with set deadlines before dropping a contract
ethical issues


Fort Worth Public Library

basic ethics
Basic Ethics
  • Be honest
  • Show respect for people
  • Exhibit professional integrity
  • Use good business practices
unethical examples
Unethical Examples
  • Contacting a vendor to tell them another vendor has promised a certain discount & asking if they can top it.
  • Promising vendors more orders than they will receive.
  • Deliberately delaying payments.
  • Rejecting material due to personal beliefs.
  • Deliberately writing bid specifications that exclude fair competition.
  • What about free lunches and other incentives?
alcts principles standards

In all acquisitions transactions, a librarian:

1. Gives 1st consideration to the objectives & policies of his or her institution;

2. Strives to obtain the maximum ultimate value of each dollar of expenditure;

3. Grants all competing vendors equal consideration insofar as the established policies of his or her library permit, & regards each transaction on its own merits;

4. Subscribes to and works for honesty, truth, & fairness in buying and selling, & denounces all forms and manifestations of bribery;

alcts principles standards continued

5. Declines personal gifts & gratuities;

6. Uses only by consent original ideas & designs devised by one vendor for competitive purchasing purposes;

7. Accords a prompt & courteous reception insofar as conditions permit to all who call on legitimate business missions;

8. Fosters & promotes fair, ethical, & legal trade practices;

9. Avoids sharp practice;

alcts principles standards continued42

10. Strives consistently for knowledge of the publishing & bookselling industry.

11. Strives to establish practical & efficient methods for the conduct of his/her office;

12. Counsels & assists fellow acquisitions librarians in the performance of their duties, whenever occasion permits.

just starting out


Fort Worth Public Library

how to learn the job
How to Learn the Job
  • Is there someone at the library who can show you the ropes?
  • Contact the regional library system office and visit their web site.
  • Contact a local library of a similar size using the same library online system.
  • If your ILS has an acquisitions module use it.
  • Find out your library’s (and City’s) priorities.
  • Look for local library networks.
  • Are you part of a consortium?
who to buy from
Who to Buy From?
  • Your regional system office will have a list of contracted vendors.
  • Determine which vendors your library has been using & contact the sales reps.
  • Attend library conventions to find potential vendors.
  • Ask your colleagues about successful vendor relationships.
  • Find out your City’s requirements for using new vendors.
money matters
Money Matters
  • What’s the fiscal year cycle?
  • What are my city’s purchasing & account payable rules?
  • What’s my materials budget & how is it divvied up?
  • When does the money need to be encumbered and/or spent?
  • Who pays the bills – library staff or someone at the City?
  • What are the correct accounts payable procedures?
  • What documentation do I need to keep & how long?
  • Do I have a library credit card? If so, what are my restrictions?
money matters continued
Money Matters (continued)
  • Are there limits on how much I can spend with a vendor?
  • Does the local bookstore give me a discount?
  • What is my tax exempt number?
  • Know where your money comes from – City, State, grants. Does any carry over from one fiscal year to another?
  • Am I required to get competitive bids on materials?
parting thoughts
Parting Thoughts….
  • Don’t re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to….
  • Don’t keep unnecessary paperwork.
  • Look for ways to eliminate steps.
  • Know and/or establish your priorities.
  • Take advantage of vendor tools.
  • Don’t assume vendors don’t have something you can use.